Image courtesy of the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Alamedans will soon be asked to both conserve more water and pay more for what they use to help preserve the East Bay’s water supply in the face of a lingering drought.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District board decided last week to ask customers to cut back their water use 15 percent from 2013 levels beginning on January 2, 2015, up from the 10 percent they’re now asking customers to cut. Starting in January, they will also impose a 14 percent surcharge to cover the bill for water they’re buying from the federal government.

Alamedans are getting into the spirit of things this holiday season, and reader Cathy Nielsen persuaded us to tell that story by sharing readers' holiday decoration pics.

She sent along the first two photos - of the giant dragon (made of recycled packaging) at We Are Hair on Park Street and a palm frond reindeer gracing one of the iconic trees lining Burbank Street - while other readers, like Jenny Martens, showed off their holiday spirit by decorating inside and out.

Future residential development was on everyone’s mind Tuesday night as a growth-friendly City Council gave way to two new members who support a slower approach to development.

But the old council members didn’t exit without leaving their mark on the city’s landscape. In the final hour of their tenure, the council members approved a plan to develop the site of the former Del Monte warehouse for up to 380 new homes.

While the 4-1 vote was applauded by some in the audience, the lame duck council’s action drew heavy criticism from residents who wanted the new council to decide the matter and sought more time to discuss the proposal.

Here's an update on our popular Alameda development map, plus an update spreadsheet with more detail on development plans in Alameda. Projects under development include Alameda Landing and Marina Cove II (also known as Marina Shores), which will offer 365 new homes; final approvals for the Del Monte development, which could add another 380 homes to Alameda's housing stock, are expected to be granted by the City Council on Tuesday, while negotiations for development of a waterfront town center with 800 homes, shops, parks and a new ferry terminal are underway.

Dozens of Alamedans took to the streets Sunday to protest police killings of unarmed black men in New York and Ferguson, Mo. and to express their frustration about the lack of charges against the officers responsible for the killings.

The Alameda protest rally was held a day after hundreds of thousands of people participated in protests across the country following the decisions of a pair of grand juries not to hand down charges in the police killings of 18-year-old Michael Brown, of Ferguson, and 34-year-old Eric Garner, of New York. Additional protests have taken place at City Hall and at Encinal High School.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your two-sentence weekly news review. Here’s what happened this week.

Dave LeMoine was inspired by our recent column on the first families of Bay Farm Island to offer his own personal history on The Alamedan.

Dating back to the last two centuries, Alameda’s history has included farmers who worked the land. At Ploughshares Nursery, that history has come full circle.

I was excited when I heard there was a new BBQ place opening up here in Alameda. Being from the South, I crave the slow-cooked smoked meats of my youth and have had a hard time finding good places that do it right. So, last Sunday my family and I ventured out to Alameda South Shore Center to give the Best Lil’ Porkhouse a try.

It's easy to learn to appreciate the natural world by watching for birds along Alameda's shoreline in late fall and winter during migration season.

A storm dumped more than three inches of rain on Alameda on Thursday morning, flooding roads and downing trees across the Island. But Alameda appears to have escaped the heavier flooding and power outages experienced by some other Bay Area cities.

The average market rate of Alameda’s rental housing has risen more than 18 percent over the past 12 months, data obtained by The Alamedan show – faster than market rents in Alameda County and the Bay Area as a whole.

Asking rents in Alameda have risen 18.4 percent over the past 12 months, compared with 11.6 percent in Alameda County and 11.4 percent across the Bay Area, data released by the Novato-based research firm RealFacts show. The average market rent in Alameda in the third quarter of 2014 was $2,057, the data show, topping rents in Alameda County as a whole for the first time in two years.